Thursday, 13 March 2008

Trumped up, Trumped down, what a farce

It came out today - the long awaited epic we know fondly as the Trump report, and it's ... well, it's ... kind of vacuous, kind of empty, kind of a waste of paper (and three months of committee time as well as witnesses' time), and a disgrace in terms of political abuse of the committee system.

It smells of ... roses - for Alex Salmond and John Swinney, anyway. In spite of all the kerfuffle, flummery and general ignorance that surrounded Duncan MacNeill trying to be Kenneth Starr the committee, the report exonerated the SNP. Have a look at these paragraphs:

182. The Committee notes that the Chief Planner and the Planning Minister (Cabinet Secretary for Finance and sustainable Growth, John Swinney) acted in accordance with planning laws when issuing the decision to call in the application. The Committee notes the evidence of the Chief Planner that he had decided over the weekend of 1-2 December that call-in would be the simplest solution for all parties. The Committee notes that there are no definitive criteria for call-in and that each case is decided on its own merits (see para 36). The Committee notes the evidence that the planning minister took advice from the Chief Planner in reaching his decision. The Committee further notes that neither the Chief Planner nor the Planning Minister asked Aberdeenshire Council if the decision notice had been issued on 4 December.

242. As noted in above (para 238) the Committee has no power and does not intend to judge whether of not any Minister is in breach of the Ministerial Code or Code of Conduct for MSPs. The Committee notes the efforts made by Mr Salmond to ensure all stakeholders were clear that he was acting as Constituency MSP for Gordon and not as First Minister. The Committee notes that stakeholders have made it clear they were aware that Mr Salmond was acting as Constituency MSP for Gordon and not as First Minister at all times.

For an indication of just how much of your time and money was wasted on an opposition grudge, take a look at the Record of Divisions in Private beginning on page 53.

More later, by gum!

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